An Unlikely Marriage of Rock and Rap

In 2013, Paul Banks and RZA announced that they will be collaborating under the name Banks & Steelz. Then on Thursday May 19, 2016 , Banks & Steelz came out with a single, “Love and War,” featuring Ghostface Killah.


This song was three years in the making, but it proved to be worth the wait. Banks & Steelz sound is perfect for this generation, and some would like to think it was worth the wait.

Interpol’s frontman Paul Banks



and one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan RZA


announced their collaboration in 2013. RZA’s manager asked about who he wanted to collaborate with, RZA chose Paul Banks. Apparently there really good friends, they play chess often and both of their groups were found in the 90’s. They both have the New York energy according to RZA and they synced immediately. “Love and War,” has proved that Bands & Steelz are perfect for this generation.

This single is classified as an alternative song, but it has a lot of elements of rap. In this generation, it has been clear that it’s all about merging two things to make something amazing. Kind of like if you go into a fusion restaurant and order sushi on a taco shell, that’s how genres work today. You have artists all over combining two genres such as EDM with metal, country with dance music, electric and folk the list goes on and on. There are new genres being invented based on merging probably right now such as trap soul in Bryson Tiller’s case. Rock music has been doing this for years with punk rock, hair metal, emo rock, grunge, and alternative. What alternative artists such as Banks & Steelz are trying to do is separate themselves from the mainstream. Alternative music is about separating yourself from the top 40 and create something your own and getting big for it, something different from all the bull. It’s about taking that risk and taking that extra step.

That extra step is how this generation is different. There are more opportunities now than ever to make a statement and you have to take risks to grab that opportunity. RZA is actually a good example when he decided to turn to acting. Combining Paul Banks baritone range voice and RZA’s ability to speed up soul samples was an unbelievable risk, but after, “Love and War,” it proved to be a match made in young people heaven. Artists have tried this in the past, a good example is Hollywood Undead, and a bad one is Limp Bizkit, but knowing that you’re two of the smartest people in music and has plenty of people to work with such as Ghostface Killah or the entire Wu-Tang Clan and Interpol they knew they could make it work. Banks & Steelz used what they know and what was around them, used rap and rock to combine cultures and make a great hit.

Combining cultures such as the gangster and the Goth, the urban and suburban, the American and European creates a great target audience. Music brings people together no matter how different you can be. These cultures have something in common though, they feel pain. This song is about the betrayal and sadness you felt when the person you loved stabbed you in the back. How a person so terrible can have you manipulated into loving him/her. Everybody in the world has felt this heartbreak. It’s that heartbreak that made this song a gritty sense of reality. Bringing rap and rock is a good idea because what both the rap and rock target demographic like and experience. They like the tough, deep sound that compares to real life.

Bands & Steelz have proved that even though they are out of their time zone that they can connect with this generation. “Love and War,” has turned out to be more than just a single, it’s become a symbol of this generation. “Love and War,” has increased the anticipation for a Banks and Steelz album, for more shows and more opportunities, such as a Banks & Steelz, Wu-Tang Clan collaboration album, or Interpol and RZA album. There are a ton of things that could happen. For now, you can see them in the FYF festival in Los Angeles on August 27th and 28th. Catch the, at the Life Is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival on September 23rd to 25th. Finally, Austin City Limits from September 30th to October 2nd and October 7th to 10th. There are also Banks & Steelz pop-ups in New York and LA. Let it be said that Banks & Steelz ain’t nothing to f% #@ with.

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